VISIT AT PROMOVEC
PUBLISHED IN CYKELBRANCHEN, JUNE 2020
HOW DID IT ALL START?
Originally, Jesper was employed in the industry of electric vehicles intended for the elderly. As an engineer he was ready to work with the development of technical products, but at one point the dream of having his own company came to fill so much that Jesper quit his job as production manager. Jesper then established a collaboration with a good friend who is an educated development engineer. Soon they got together with an agency on electric scooters from Taiwan, and at one point the sales trip went past Sahl Cykler in Skjern to hear if they would not sell elderly vehicles. Sahl Cykler referred to Mosquito's headquarters and participation in their internal trade fair was agreed.
Jesper: At the fair there were questions about why we did not look a little at "those" electric bikes. In 2003, the suitcase was packed, and the trip went to China. Soon we started selling electric bikes, but the problem was the quality, so in 2006 we decided to develop our own products. When you develop your own products, you know it all thoroughly, and you can use your background and experience to develop and produce something good. Subsequently we got a local bicycle dealer Jan Rasmussen from Aarhus on board, and after a couple of years we had an electric bicycle ready. It was in May 2008 that the first Promovec electric bicycle was delivered. We developed the solution and had it produced in Taiwan.
It was almost a shocking news in electric bikes, and one of the big players in the market (HF) asked if we would deliver to them. It was obviously a huge opportunity for us. In 2009 HF was able to launch electric bicycles, which we had developed for them. At that time we were 10 - 12 employees in Promovec. Today we are 50 in Denmark and 15 abroad. Our business foundation was to develop electric bikes for others. Some examples are Raleigh, Winther, Nishiki, Centurion, Christinia, Nihola and Trio Bike. Abroad, we have the English Batribike, Granville in Belgium and Evo in the US and Canada.
In 2011 - 2012, something interesting happened to us again: Several bicycle factories asked if they could buy from us the components that make the e-bike an e-bike. We now have a lot who use our electrical parts as: motors, battery’s, display’s – that is what we simply call the "e-kit". For example in Italy we have an interesting niche market where our customers do not have the resources to manage electrical system, service, installation instructions and the professional handling of supplying electric bicycles. The kit is developed for the "tough", Scandinavian climate, and if it works in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, it also works abroad, e.g. United States and Canada.
WHERE IS PROMOVEC TODAY?
Today we are in a place where we have found a good balance between price and quality. Service has always been a part of our DNA. We have 6 six men in the service workshop. These are service employees who are educated bicycle mechanics. It is no use just getting a message that you are being contacted by someone who knows something about the subject. Customers need answers now, and with our concept the dealer can go directly to us and get answers immediately. At the same time it is also an exciting and a good challenge for educated professionals to work for us.
DO YOU YOU HAVE YOUR OWN BATTERY PRODUCTION AND SERVICE WORKSHOP?
Yes, battery production goes back to 2018, when the idea of battery production began: We were number two in Europe as a manufacturer of batteries for electric bicycles where our processes are highly automated. The green angle is important here. The battery should not be shipped from China. Our own battery is produced under environmentally friendly conditions and we are getting closer to the market.
It was a big decision with the battery production, especially in relation to complaints. There are considerations but it has turned out that we have got off to a good start and that our test procedure (functionality and load) has been right and necessary. We have benefited greatly from a joint venture project, where we collaborate with a very experienced player in the field.
We have succeeded in finding a solution where the extra price for our green battery is only 500 DKK for the end user, when compared to what we allow ourselves to call a "black" battery.
WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY IN RELATION TO THE MARKET?
We make something that is very Danish to look at and in that way we help branding the danish design and the danish bicycle traditions. Quality is the overriding parameter for us. We must and want a credible product - we are an engineering company with a great technical background. The product must therefore also be sustainable. Not only in use, but also the procurement and production itself must be in this spirit: We have clear agreements on both repair and recycling of engine and battery parts, whereby we get as long a life as possible.
Incidentally the metals in the batteries can be recycled, where we have, among other things, a German buyer who has a very high recycling rate. We aim to phase out plastic and use only FSC cardboard, which is recyclable. We have quite literally gone from the black, colorful packaging to the boring but reasonable and sustainable one. All our energy consumption is green: electric cars, green server, LED lights and heat as an energy source. The interesting part is that it is not even more expensive and at the same time it is easier than you expect. It is all about creating the sustainable electric bike of the future. Quality, design and credibility.
HOW DOES PROMOVEC DO MARKETING?
In relation to the green profile: We want to tell our story. In addition we have changed the logo, so we have the Danish flag on the logo together with our name an slogan. The batteries we produce here in Denmark now, where we have our own instructional videos on Youtube, which customers can use. These digital processes also help to minimize our printed materials - again to strengthen sustainability. All in all, a Danish-developed product that is green - that is the choice the end customer must make. We only deliver to the supplier level but we still get a lot of input from the dealers, which is very positive.
After all it is ultimately there the battle must be fought and the story told and understood! The suppliers have the inventory and the right brands - we come with the technology!
WHERE WILL PROMOVEC BE IN 2-3 YEARS FROM NOW?
We expect a doubling of revenue within 3 years and to increase abroad via exports to Sweden, Italy, France and England. Therefore we also expect the staff to be expanded - especially to technicians, service employees, sales people and not least software engineers - because a large part of the driving experience lies in the software.